US Athletes Reject Boycott of Beijing Games

Sporting trumps politics, even for sympathetic competitors
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 17, 2008 4:32 PM CDT
Exile Tibetans protest against the Beijing Olympics in Dharmsala, India, Thursday, April 17, 2008.    (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
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(Newser) – Many US athletes aren’t swayed by winds of boycott surrounding the Beijing Olympics, the Christian Science Monitor reports. “What's going on is important and we should pay attention to it,” says a 2004 gold medalist, but “we need to be athletes first.”  Despite a 1980 boycott of the Moscow Games, "the invasion continued,” notes a wrestler of the Soviets' takeover of Afghanistan.

Many have no problem with the protests—until they turn violent or disruptive. “I don't think the protests were against what the Olympics are,” says a cyclist. “They just used the Olympics as a platform.” Instead of an all-out boycott, many support skipping the opening ceremonies—though one French gymnast wants to compete wearing a badge reading “For a better world.”